If you hang out around us, I’m sure K-Pants has insulted you, refused to say goodbye to you, screamed and grimaced in a menacing Joker face at you or your kid.
I’ve dragged my five-year-old back from the park so many times while he’s yelled, “You’re a BAD MOM!” that I’ve crossed parks off my list of kid activities. If you come over, you’ll probably be tempted to “help” me parent him, coaxing him to be polite or talk to his parents or his brother in a nicer way.
It comes from a loving place. And these are issues that you’ve probably managed to work out with your child. You’re wondering why I’m not just a little bit stricter, or more consistent, or better researched with my own parenting.
I stopped to reflect on this the other day.
I would have assumed from the outside looking in that I would be developing an inferiority complex given that, for all my efforts, I haven’t turned the wildling into a compliant subject of the realm. I would guess that the incessant application of the outside judgment chisel would be hurting my mojo.
Here’s what I figure: The awesome part about having a super-intense kid is that I don’t have time to notice much judgment or dwell on it. I’m too myopic about getting through the day, feeding people, and trying not to turn into a screaming banshee lady as I’m put down over and over.
Also, I have a nose like a hound dog for finding other parents whose mental energy is constantly drained by kid insults and miniscule negotiations for social acceptability, and who may have household items thrown at them with regularity.
Plenty of people have thoughts or advice for me, but I’m very good at avoiding conversations with them. I only talk about parenting with about five people who have suffered the kind of total debasement that has left them hollow and humble.
Had K-Pants succumb to my parenting strategery, I would post way more cute pictures of us pretending to drink cappuccinos at Starbucks and talk about how blessed we are. We are blessed, undeservedly so, but all the time I would spend posting these adorable, wonderful things for you to see is spent finishing up lessons including:
- When you hide under the covers before bedtime you can’t punch me to let me know you’re there and then tell me, “I never have fun at this game.”
- When we say prayers we don’t say “amen” in a hissing, clawing, feral cat voice.
- This day is not “the worst day ever” because your brother won the race to the car and then you shoved him onto the concrete and got a time out—it’s just another day.
Had Boy Woww been the first child, I would have thought I was the sh*t at parenting, and you and I would have shared knowing superiority glances as we watched another parent take a beating and then drag a screaming child to the car while the kid shouted, “I HATE YOU, MOM!” We would whisper to each other, She should read 1-2-3 Magic or How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, it would save her so much energy and embarrassment!
If K-Pants would have been the second-born, he would have stolen all of my imaginary gold parenting stars that I’d plastered all over myself. And my skin would have been itchy and red, with no reward in sight.
So even though you might think, rightfully so, that K-Pants can be rude and sullen and hurt everyone’s feelings around him with reckless abandon—I have a long-term strategy to win the war. Endurance. And because endurance takes all of my energy, I’ve been generally unaware of both outside awesomeness and outside judgment for years—and I’m left thinking my kid is pretty cool.